258 HISTORY OF PERSIA CHAP.
owing to the Uzbeg invasions, and he wisely decided to
make peace with the Turks in order that he might con-
centrate his entire resources against the Uzbegs. After
long negotiations, conducted by Haydar Mirza, son of
Hamza Mirza, peace was concluded in A.H. 998 (1590)
by the'cession of Tabriz, Shirwan with its ports on the
Caspian, Georgia, and Luristan to the Turks.
The Uzbeg Invasions.—The Uzbeg kingdom reached
its zenith under Abdulla II., who was contemporary with
Shah Abbas, and who extended the boundaries of his
empire in every direction. To the east Farghana, Kash-
gar, and Khotan, and to the south Balkh, Tokharistan,
and Badakshan became his frontier provinces. On the
western side Astrabad was surprised, and the Prince of
Gilan, an ally of the Sultan of Turkey, was driven head-
long from his country. Very early in his reign Abbas
was threatened with the loss of Herat, which ultimately
fell after a siege of nine months. The sacred city of
Meshed was next -invested. The young Shah marched
to its relief, but illness delayed him, and the city was
taken and sacked, its inhabitants were massacred, and
the treasures belonging to the Shrine were carried off.
Nishapur, Sabzawar, Isfarayin, Tun, Tabas, and other
cities in Khorasan suffered a like fate. The province was
indeed in a pitiable state until, in A.H. 1006 (1597), a
great victory was gained over the elusive foe in the
neighbourhood of Herat, after which the annual raids of
the Uzbegs ceased for many years to come.
To protect this exposed frontier Abbas transported
from Kurdistan some thousands of Kurds, with their
families and flocks, and settled them to the north of
Khorasan, where they acted as wardens of the marches.
The newcomers were unable to hold their own in the
fertile lands to the north of the ranges described ijti
Chapter I., but in the valley of the Atrek they dispossessed
the Geraili Turks and made good their position. To-day
they are a flourishing community, still speaking their own
language, and generally ruled by their tribal chiefs.
The Temporary Abdication, A,H. 1000 (1591).—Belief
in astrology caused the monarch at this period to vacate